used to be a Sewing Blog – Now KDrama

Archive for October, 2012

My review of streaming sites

This will be my review of 3 legitimate kdrama streaming sites: Viki.com; dramafever.com & crunchyroll.com. I will not be reviewing dailymotion, youtube, dramacrazy etc. However, I will briefly touch on hulu.com. I’ve never reviewed anything so they may be a bit weird because I’m talking about what Kaekae likes and dislikes about them.

Crunchyroll

Full disclaimer: I don’t really use crunchyroll on a regular basis because others have the dramas I want. And that may be all you need to know, crunchyroll has a ton of animes etc., and while their selection of kdramas is pretty good, everything I wanted to see was available at viki, dramafever or hulu. So for me, it was a why bother.

Their mobile app requires a subscription, so I can’t touch on that.

If you like animes, then definitely check out crunchyroll, but for kdramas only – not really worth it.

Dramafever

Full disclaimer, again: I’m a Dramafever premium member – a year’s subscription was my Christmas present to myself last year, and I haven’t regretted it. I like watching without commercials. (This isn’t an ad; just a fact.)

Dramafever has an excellent selection of kdramas, plus other Asian (and now South American) dramas. They have simulcasts of some of the more popular shows (or shows that are expected to be popular). They are very active on Twitter and Facebook, so you feel if you say something they listen. Their queue is very easy to use (I especially like checking off episodes that I’ve seen other places). For some shows, you could give them a break and come back months later to the same episode. I really like using the subtitles to navigate thru a show. It makes it easier to get to the good part – and, no, I don’t just mean scenes like the Cola Kiss. I’ve had a few issues with the subs, but most were minor (worse one was: one show at the beginning of my kdrama journey a character’s name changed 1/2 way thru “who are they talking about”), and usually if I said something they said they would fix it. Their iPad app is pretty good – but I don’t use it that often because away from home I use my phone, and at home I use my Mac.

Ok, enough with the “I likes.” This is what I dislike about Dramafever. I really really dislike the iPhone “app,” which isn’t really an app at all, just a mobile version of their site. If you pause the video or stop and come back, it restarts around the 6 minute mark. This is very annoying. So annoying that I’ve basically stopped using it. Maybe it has improved, but I assume it if has there would be a tweet about it. I’ll be really happy if they come out with a proper iPhone app. (FYI – anyone can watch 1st eps using the app, but after that you have to be a premium member)

Update: Dramafever has a new iPhone app – a proper one. I haven’t used it that much, but it works pretty good. I still prefer hulu except – no ads on Dramafever. You can stop watching a show on your computer and finish on iPhone or vice versa. (couple bugs with that – for items not in your queue)Unfortunately, they appeared to have replaced the iPad app with the iPhone app, which was a shame because I liked the iPad app.

Another major thing I dislike is that for simulcast, Dramafever is always in 2nd place with subs. Ok, dislike may be strong. I know why Dramafever is 2nd because Viki has tons of fans to translate all at once, and Dramafever has paid translators (I think – I don’t know for certain). (I’m assuming 1 or 2 per show). However, there is an upside to Dramafever’s being 2nd; no waiting for the subs to finish before watching. When it is up, it is ready.

Ok – this is an after thought, some of these translators are too literal. They ruin jokes. In My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (on Dramafever as My Girlfriend is a 9-tailed fox), the main character was obsessed with “cow.” (beef). Unfortunately, the translators fixed it and translated “cow” as “beef.” “I want to eat beef” isn’t as funny as “I want to eat cow.” Also, Dramafever seems to err too much on the side of translate titles into names; I would prefer Oppa, Unnie, Manager etc be used more often when that is what the character says. Especially, since sometimes the indefiniteness of what “oppa’s” relationship is part of the joke or story. (49 days had a scene like that)

Bottom line: I recommend Dramafever especially for other/non-simulcast kdramas. but don’t bother with their iPhone “app.”

UPDATE: I’m no longer a premium member & as I learn more Korean, I’m realizing that lots of the subs are Readers Digest Condensed Versions/summary instead of a true translation.
Viki

Viki is unique in that the subbers are fans. That has good and bad points. Good points – fast subs. Bad points – not always good subs – some weird ones can slip in. And since you can see the progress, it is super tempting to start watching a partially subbed show and then be frustrated because you started too soon. (been there done that). Another disadvantage is that people ask for the subs, which isn’t nice because they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart.

For some reason, I can’t get Viki.com to run on Safari (my preferred browser) so I have to use FireFox or Chrome. This is annoying. Also, the commercials are very, very annoying because there is basically no variety. You may watch 3 episodes and see the same commercial over and over the entire time. It is especially annoying when it doesn’t apply to you. Also, there are a lot of commercials. Also, it is tempting to try and fix a typo etc with Viki subs even tho you really shouldn’t unless you’re on the subbing team.
Something unique to Viki – timed comments that show on screen. I hate them & always turn them off. Others love them. Your call.

The iPhone app is very good; it doesn’t have all the shows, but you can come back to where you left off. and no membership required!

If you want quick subs or a free iPhone app, then Viki.

Hulu

Another disclaimer: I’m a Hulu+ subscriber.

This is a bonus. Hulu happens to have a lot of Dramafever, Viki and other shows. So here is a quick review. 1st, use the Kdrama genre page, because the show you are looking for may have a different title. For example, Queen In-Hyun’s man is listed as the “Queen and I.”

There is a desktop app (no subscription required) which is awesome – I’m pretty sure it is still a beta for Mac, but I don’t care. I don’t watch on Hulu.com, I use an app. Subscribing is awesome; I turn on my app and I’ve got a new episode (which I may have already watched.)

Subbing quality depends on the provider, so it varies.

There are commercials, but at least there is variety.

and my favorite thing is the Hulu mobile apps (iPhone and iPad). As a Hulu+ subscriber, I can start a Kdrama on my phone and finish on my computer (or vice versa). Now not all shows can be watched using the mobile apps, but the kdramas I want to watch can be. ūüôā

Summary

Here are the winners of the categories I just thought up.

Fast Simulcasts: Viki

Website ease of use: Hulu and Dramafever

Selection: Dramafever

Subscription req’d Mobile app: Hulu

Free Mobile app: Viki

Customer communication: Dramafever

Animes: Crunchyroll

FYI: I don’t plan to change my viewing habits. Dramafever & Hulu will be my go-tos while I’ll watch Viki’s simulcasts (mobile and at home)

I hope this very long post was kinda interesting.

My Princess Rant – Spoilers

SPOILERS – This Rant/Review, whatever you want to call it, completely gives away the ending and the entire plot of My Princess.

Disclaimer: It is the middle of the night and I can’t sleep. Then this popped into my head, so who knows how it will turn out.

My Princess was the 2nd drama I watched, and the 1st I finished, so it has a special place in my kdrama loving heart. Or did – the Jury is now out – kinda.

The episodes themselves are good for the most part; I mean I love episode 15 (most of it) – it was super cute (kinda seemed like the happy ever after). The problem is the ending. It completely negates the previous 15 episodes.

Basic Plot: Lee Seol is the granddaughter of the last Korean emperor.  Park HaeYoung is the son of the DaeHan group chairman and a diplomat.  The Chairman of the DaeHan group wants to restart the Korean monarchy (ceremonial Рno power) by having the public vote on it and giving his entire fortune to the public.

Thru various circumstances, trials, tribulations (if I’m giving away the ending at least part of the middle should be unspoiled), ¬†Park HaeYoung and Lee Seol fall in love (surprise surprise), his inheritance is donated, and the monarchy is reinstated – ep 15. ¬†(OK – technically they don’t reveal the vote until the beg of Ep 16, but close enough)

Ep. 16 it has been 2 years and Lee Seol is doing princessy stuff like trying to get tourists to come to Korea and sharing the news about how great Korea is to the world. HaeYoung is traveling the world as a diplomat. Still in love even though they don’t get to see each other. HaeYoung even buys a ring,

The President who is not only against the monarchy, but definitely against them marrying, tells HaeYoung that he is going to send him to Washington DC next, and he must go because this is a huge opportunity for his career or he could live his life as The Princess’s Man. So job or the woman you love. He chooses his job.

Various circumstances etc and Lee Seol ends up leaving Korea to go with him to the US!!!!!

If I were a Korean citizen in this fictional world, I would be so POed that the fallout would never stop. ¬†Lee Seol violated the trust the people put in her when they voted to reinstate the monarchy. She throws it away for a man. And HaeYoung’s job, forget it – HaeYoung wouldn’t be able to act as a diplomat because of the scandal.

Now I am far from a feminist (e.g., I think stay at home mom sounds like a great job), but I won’t be walked on, and if some man thinks his Job is more important then his love for me and the trust my country has put in me, then please let the door hit you on the way out. This isn’t just between them – the whole country is literally affected.

15 eps were spent getting the people to vote for the monarchy, and she vows at one point that even if the monarchy isn’t reinstated she wants to spend her life serving her country. Until HaeYoung says let’s go to the US. ¬†Uh – you are a diplomat you are supposed to represent the country’s interest not decide that you want the Princess to leave the country and stay by your side like a lichen (although, she is very lichen-ly).

Now, there are instances where in a Kdrama it was cute (and make sense) that the woman (and in a very few cases, the man) gave up her job (or opportunities) ¬†for love, and it was romantic and even made sense. ¬†This isn’t one of those times. In this case, HaeYoung should have manned up and said “I may be the Princess’s Man, but I’m still good at my job, and I can do it from here.” ¬†Heck, even if he didn’t stay a Diplomat, surely there are others things he could do.

He was totally out of line for saying “I’m going to the US so come with me, or we’ll have to break up and never see each other.” Heck, they’ve been doing the long distance thing for 2 years. ¬†Lee Seol was totally out of line by leaving, (although – lichen so not that surprising). ¬†The writers were totally out of line for putting them in the situation and not seeing that her leaving with him was her rejecting the Korean monarchy and her role as a representative of Korea.

Here is the big thing. This could have easily been fixed even up to the last kiss, by her saying that she is going on official business or something as the Princess.  and THEN start the makeout session in the empty plane.  OK Рnot fixed, maybe put a tiny bandaid on the gaping wound.

It would have been one thing if she was a celebrity and gave that up for him – yeah, it would have been a huge scandal (Accidental Fool comes to mind), but that would be Ok. ¬†But basically disbanding the monarchy that the people voted for isn’t Ok. Oh and using the people’s money to fly away is also a nice touch.

Oh and how happy is she going to be stuck inside the embassy or a US apartment all day. Now her English may have significantly improved, but she has no money, no job, no driver’s license, and as far as I know, no Visa so she has to come back within a certain period of time or be an illegal alien. (Unless she miraculously got a Visa that morning because he told her late the night before (that is another rant)).

See. Ths situation could have come up at the beginning of 16 and then they could have spent the episode coming up with a solution, but you know that would involve actual talking.

So would I recommend My Princess – kinda with a caveat. End with ep 15 and maybe the 1st few minutes of 16 so you know she is the Princess, and you can make your own happily ever after where they live together happily working for the public good.